Corona being tried as SC member, not CJ
One senator asked whether evidence of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s wrongdoing when he was just an associate justice should be admitted against him, considering that he is being impeached as chief justice, thus suggesting that the impeachment case be limited only to his acts as a chief justice.
But the Constitution does not provide for impeachment as a mode of removing a chief justice from his post; it provides for impeachment as a mode of removing members of the Supreme Court from office. This means that the rank of a member of the Supreme Court is irrelevant and immaterial as far as impeachment is concerned. It is merely incidental. The consideration is not the rank, but the membership in that high court.
Thus, the Chief Justice is not being removed as chief justice. He is being removed as member of the Supreme Court. All evidence of wrongdoing from the time he became a member of the Supreme Court and during his entire membership in that tribunal should therefore be considered and admitted. Therefore, any evidence of wrongdoing while he was an associate justice cannot be barred and excluded just because he is now being removed from the high post of chief justice, precisely because that is part and parcel of evidence that he is unfit to be a member of the Supreme Court, be it as an associate justice or as a chief justice, or as an associate justice who became a chief justice.
In short, his sins as associate justice did not cease to be sins when he became chief justice.
—JELBERT BHONG GALICTO,
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